football Edit

Youbotys return highlights scrimmage

At 4 p.m. this afternoon in Ohio Stadium, Josh Huston boomed a kickoff through the end zone.
The kick scrimmage was on.
One hour later, it was over, with the Gray team taking a 31-24 victory and a ride back to the Woody Hayes Athletic Center. By virtue of their loss, the Scarlet hoofed it.
The big play in the game was a punt return, but it didn't come from the usual culprit -- Ted Ginn Jr. Instead it was Ashton Youboty doing the honors, faking a reverse to true freshman Brian Hartline and then taking a punt 87 yards up the right sideline for a touchdown. Scarlet punter A.J. Trapasso dove at Youboty's feet but couldn't take him down.
"They had a fake reverse and then they set up a wall to the right side, and that worked out real well for them," Trapasso said.
Ginn tried to disguise himself, wearing the No. 95 for the Scarlet team, but he still had few chances to touch the ball. He returned a kickoff and a punt but gained only modest yardage.
Trapasso was the most impressive punter on the field, getting the most opportunities as the sole punter on the Scarlet team. The redshirt freshman projected starter got off two 50-plus yard punts, one out of the back of the end zone, and also rumbled for 30-plus yards on a fake punt.
But he also had several punts right around 40 yards, one below, and overall he didn't seem entirely thrilled with his day.
"I didn't feel like I made solid contact," Trapasso said. "I got one good punt out of the end zone here. They were all hanging up in the air and getting pretty decent hang time, but other than that it just didn't look like the punt I'd like it to look like."
Huston looked good for the Gray team, hitting 8 of his 11 field goals, including a 50-yarder. One of the misses was blocked, but the other two were simply bad strikes of the ball by Huston, though one of them also did end up getting blocked.
"I think it was an OK day," Huston said. "I've certainly had better kick scrimmages, but there's been worse ones. I remember my first one in here wasn't too pretty. Overall, I think I'd take two hits back that I had."
More importantly, the kick scrimmage -- in which all plays are either punts, field goals or kickoffs, though fakes are allowed -- forced the specialists' teammates to take notice of them.
"You don't get the fans but you get the arena, and you also get your teammates needing you," Huston said. "In practice, they don't even watch sometimes. Some of the guys are getting ready -- they have a busy day. Today, those guys need you. They're patting you on the back, patting you on the butt, saying, `Let's get these balls through. I don't want to walk back.' You get that sense of team."
With Aaron Pettrey sidelined with a nagging groin injury, Ryan Pretorious served as the Scarlet's kicker. The 25-year-old walk-on looked good, hitting 8 of his 12 attempts. And one of the misses was a 57-yarder that was on line and came up just short.
"Ryan's hitting the ball real well," Huston said. "He's right there, and he doesn't let me slack at all. I can't miss four kicks in a day or whatever or he's right there to push back on me."
In addition to Trapasso's rush, the Buckeyes also tried some other trickery. On one punt the ball was snapped directly to linebacker Anthony Schlegel, who completed a pass downfield to A.J. Hawk for about 30 yards.
Much to Schlegel's chagrin, the play was called back due to penalty.
Freshman walk-on Jonathan Thoma and sophomore Tyson Gentry punted for the Gray team. Thoma got off a 50-yard punt at one point, and while Gentry's first punt went only 22 yards, he later got off perhaps the punt of the day, booting one out of his own end zone that veered toward the sideline and was fielded by Ginn at the 50-yard line.
Gentry also did a solid job holding for Huston, duties the starting punter usually holds but that Gentry took care of since Trapasso was on the Scarlet team. Drew Norman did not have any noticeably bad snaps and looks to have secured the spot most recently held by Kyle Andrews, who helped groom Norman for the role.
"The biggest thing Kyle did was, in high school, I never blocked," Norman said. "I snapped and covered. Of course here, we have to block. He worked with me my true freshman year every day on how to snap and get back. Just showing me how it's done, telling me, `Hey, you have to drop step, you have to get back.' Little things like that are big, and just little hints on how to stay loose, because when you don't play every play, it's tough to stay loose on that sideline and come out and be perfect for one play at a time."
Other players who worked as returners in the kick scrimmage were running backs Erik Haw and Maurice Wells and true freshman cornerback Malcolm Jenkins for the Gray team and Shaun Lane, recently converted from cornerback to tailback, for the Scarlet team.
Jim Tressel was originally scheduled to meet with the media following the scrimmage but did not do so.